Unitarian Troublemakers [#52]

From 1836 to 1840, a group of New England activists, scholars, educators, and nonconforming ministers, later to be called the Transcendentalists, met regularly for conversations that led to a revolution within Unitarianism.

These interactions among Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, Elizabeth Peabody, Bronson Alcott, and more than 40 others, united them into a group of forceful advocates for what were then radical causes, such as abolition of slavery, free universal education, women’s rights, antimonopoly legislation, poverty reduction, and elimination of debtors’ prisons.

Those momentous exchanges occurred 185 years ago, but their impacts have been felt in Unitarianism and in our society over the decades since then, and they continue to influence our nation’s values today.

Renewal dialogues–questioning and rearticulating who they are, what they stand for, and what they will do–have been held within this faith tradition periodically since then.

Indeed, that revitalization spirit is very much alive and well with the Unitarian Universalist movement.  Currently, a nationwide series of conversations is being held to identify what humanitarian causes the movement will champion in the coming decades to keep its congregations, and America, growing toward fulfilling their potential to be fully healing, constructive, just, and, loving communities.

May 5, 2023